We've Got a Black Hawk Down! 2021 Pre-Season Injury Report

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

What's happenin'?

I'm Sven, and this is my first article with Fantasy Puck! Entering my third season as a fantasy sports writer, I look forward to sharing my opinion and hope it helps you make some tough decisions with your own fantasy teams / DFS strategies.

With every fantasy season, there is that one player that everyone is prepping their queues to NOT auto-draft… because he’s injured going into the season. With several sure-fire players missing significant time in this already shortened season, there are surely going to be opportunities for players to fill these vacancies in the lineup.

As a page dedicated to helping the fantasy hockey community, we have broken down what each key injury means for the team impacted, as well as each player that could have a bump or dip in fantasy value!

David Pastrnak (Hip) out until Mid-February

Not only are we starting alphabetical, but also starting with the least impactful injury. Much like Pasta, Brad Marchand is also recovering from surgery but is only projected to miss one game. Mid-February means approximately 16/56 games on the shelf for Pasta, but that still makes him very fantasy relevant for this season given his 95 points last season.

As far as replacements go, the leader in the clubhouse seems to be Ondrej Kase, a player the Bruins acquired at the deadline last season and has shown a scoring touch previously in his career when healthy.

This would make Kase no more than a flyer / stream option for the first month of the season. That being said, if he finds some chemistry with the top line they could become a great affordable option for DFS.

Other options include: Craig Smith, Jack Studnicka. If any news comes out I will be sure to update!

Jonathan Toews (Illness), Kirby Dach (Wrist), Brent Seabrook (Hip) out indefinitely

For a team, losing a key player stinks. Losing a key player that plays centre is even worse. Losing TWO of them is almost as bad as it gets. THEN you throw in the ghost of Brent Seabrook too? Kidding.

In all seriousness, the Chicago Blackhawks’ hopes for success this season took a massive hit when it was made public that Captain Serious would miss significant time with an undisclosed illness. They had nearly come to terms with losing their Sophomore third overall pick to a freak accident, but now they are short two men down the middle for at least four months.

What does this mean for the Hawks? Let’s take a look at their depth chart at C:

Dylan Strome – RFA, has succeeded in small doses when put with the two most skilled forwards on the team. I’m starting to think his acquisition was entirely based off Stan Bowman watching Erie Otters highlights.

Carl Soderberg – Recently signed to a one-year deal. Though he did have a sneaky 23 goals two seasons ago, it was playing with MacKinnon and company in Colorado. Certainly going to carry the weight in the defensive zone.

Zack Smith, Mattias Janmark, Ryan Carpenter, David Kampf, Lucas Wallmark – All listed as C on CapFriendly. Janmark had a whopping 34 points three seasons ago but has since accepted a checking role. Zack Smith was the mayor of Ottawa in 2016 with 25 goals. I understand it’s the NHL and every player is tremendously skilled in order to get there, but I don’t see a ton of promise with these five guys (certainly no burgers and fries).

The Hawks will have to hope for Dylan Strome to go vintage Erie Otters mode (pairing up with DeBrincat may help). I’m considering taking a flyer on him in deep leagues because SOMEONE has to play the minutes.

Gustav Nyquist (Shoulder) out indefinitely

Nyquist is in year two of his four year, 5.5m per year deal with the Jackets. It was reported in November he would be out 5-6 months recovering from surgery. This leaves a huge hole on the left side for Columbus, most importantly on the wing of franchise Centre Pierre-Luc Dubois.

My hope is that the projected lineup on DailyFaceoff stays the same, with Alexandre Texier getting the shot at #1LW. The Frenchman has chipped in offensively so far in his 56 career games between regular season and playoffs, but the team has high hopes for their 2017 second rounder. Linking up with Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand, Texier may be worth looking at in deep leagues and their line will be an interesting option for DFS.

Tyler Seguin (Hip) and Ben Bishop (Knee) to miss significant time

The reigning Western Conference champions will be without two key players as they recover from off-season surgery. These two players both have a shot at returning this season, but their draft stock is pretty low given the reduced number of regular season games. Let's talk about the more significant injury first, their first-line centre.

Seguin's production will most definitely be missed. There is no question he would have been a high pick in most fantasy leagues if healthy. What will most likely happen is veteran Joe Pavelski will centre the Stars' top line of Jamie Benn and Alex Radulov. Pavelski is a very capable replacement, but the overall production of all three players will take a hit.

As for in goal, the Stars will miss Bishop slightly less. 35-year-old Anton Khudobin had his coming out party during the Bubble Playoffs while Bishop was injured. The Stars re-signed him this off-season, and he will likely pick right back up where he left off in the Summer. Given how structured of a game Dallas plays and the quality of the Central division, I can't see Khudobin having too many issues this season. If healthy, he should nab at least 35 starts as well!

Oscar Klefbom (Shoulder) out indefinitely

This is an injury we had a bit more knowledge of earlier on, as did the Oilers. GM Ken Holland officially ruled out his top Dman Klefbom about a week ago, but they were sure to make some off-season moves in his absence.

Before we get to the big one, this move provides a nice boost for returning Oilers Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear. The pairing were already soaking up 5on5 minutes at the end of last season and had PP2 time as well. With Klefbom out, I see this top pair absolutely logging minutes this year, which should produce a healthy increase in TOI and blocks.

As for that deadly Edmonton power play, my money is on BC boy Tyson Barrie, who they inked to a one-year deal this off-season. Barrie had an underwhelming start to last season under a new team and coach, but he is just that one season removed from a 59-point campaign… Where he ran a power play with star players like MacKinnon and Rantanen on it! Not only will Barrie have no issues lugging the offensive load, but this will also allow Nurse and Bear to flourish at 5on5 and not get overplayed. I love Barrie as a 3rd-4th D in most leagues, and will be sure to keep my eye on his shot rate for DFS.

Mats Zuccarrello (Arm) and Alex Stalock (Upper Body) out indefinitely

I’ll be quick with this one. Zuccarello had surgery last month and there is no timetable for his return. Not that Minnesota had much scoring punch to begin with aside from the obvious players, but losing him sure doesn’t help. I can’t see another player emerging from their bottom-six to light it up given their lack of depth, but I am however excited to see what KHL star Kirill Kaprizov does for the Wild this season.

As for Stalock, who has always been a very competent NHL backup, it was announced two weeks ago that he was out indefinitely with no further information provided. The team went out and signed the Hamburglar Andrew Hammond, but I am more intrigued by the opportunity this created for Cam Talbot. This is a goaltender that just three seasons ago started 73 games for Edmonton. SEVENTY-THREE. The Wild are only playing 56 this season!

Talbot had respectable numbers in Calgary last season and even won the starting job for the Flames playoff run, but was on the outside looking in as the team pursued free agent Markstrom. Talbot will have a very very good defensive corps in front of him, and has the career numbers to make me believe he is a sleeper. Not to mention Minnesota plays LA, Anaheim, Arizona, and San Jose eight times each.

Vladimir Tarasenko (Shoulder) out indefinitely

This has been the big topic with drafts in full swing. We have to wait until mid-February for Tarasenko to be re-evaluated, but he is certainly worth stashing if your roster size / IR spots can handle it.

The Blues made headlines just days ago when they signed Mike Hoffman to a PTO. The PTO tag shocked many, but we later learned this was a formality until the team was able to transfer Steen’s contract to LTIR. Hoffman is like a Great Value Brand Tarasenko, and him and his scoring touch will prove to be the perfect replacement while the Russian is on the shelf. I have no clue what their plan is once Vladdy is good to return, but until then, Hoffman is a great option given the Blues’ power play efficiency!

Nikita Kucherov (Hip) Out for Season

Thankfully, this news came out before many of you had your drafts. Unfortunately, he is one of my keepers in my main league. You win some, you lose some.

There is no replacing Kuch, even if your team is as skilled as the Lightning are. That being said, this creates a great opportunity for an already productive player. Ondrej Palat, who had a very good playoff, is slated to play the top line wing along with Brayden Point and captain Steven Stamkos. I imagine this promotion will also make Palat a lock on the top PP unit.

Henrik Lundqvist (Heart) Out for Season

This has been public knowledge for quite some time, and was definitely heart breaking news (no pun intended, I promise) for King Henrik. That being said, this creates even more opportunity for first-rounder Ilya Samsonov. Not only did he post solid relief numbers as a rookie in 26GP last season, but he is now THE guy in Washington.

Sure, 38-year-old Lundqvist was mainly there to mentor the Sophomore, but he had the track record to steal the starting job if needed. Now, it is Samsonov’s time to shine baby! Although the East division will be more gridlocked than traffic in any of those cities, I love Samsonov going into this season in all formats.

That concludes the first of many articles! Hope you guys enjoyed. If you have any questions regarding fantasy hockey or DFS, don't hesitate to reach out in the comments!

- Sven

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